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Crosby, John Schuyler (19 September 1839–08 August 1914), military officer and government official, was born in Albany County, New York, the son of Clarkson Floyd Crosby, who was independently wealthy, and Angelica Schuyler. Crosby attended the University of the City of New York in 1855–1856 but left for a grand tour of the Far East and South America. In 1863 he married Harriet Van Rensselaer; they had two children....

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Denver, James William (23 October 1817–09 August 1892), soldier, governor of Kansas Territory, and lawyer, was born near Winchester, Virginia, the son of Patrick Denver and Jane Campbell, farmers of Irish extraction. In 1831 his family migrated to a farm near Wilmington, Ohio. After a grade school education, James taught briefly at Platte City, Missouri, graduated from Cincinnati College (now the University of Cincinnati) in 1844, and was admitted to the bar. He opened a newspaper and law office in Xenia, Ohio, but after less than a year, in 1845, returned to Platte City, where he continued to practice both professions. After the outbreak of the Mexican War on 4 March 1847, Denver was appointed captain in the Twelfth Regiment, U.S. Volunteers, commanding a company he had raised, and was ordered to Mexico. Sick much of the time, he was ordered home on 26 October 1847....

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Dodge, Henry (12 October 1782–19 June 1867), soldier, governor of Wisconsin Territory, and U.S. senator, was born at Post Vincennes (now Vincennes), Indiana, the son of Israel Dodge, a farmer and businessman, and Nancy Ann Hunter. His father moved the family to Kentucky and then to Ste. Genevieve on the Missouri frontier in 1796. By the time Henry was born his father had become a wealthy landowner. Henry had little formal education, but worked on his father’s farms and in his mills, distilleries, and mines. In 1800 Henry Dodge married Christina McDonald; they had thirteen children, but only nine survived infancy. He succeeded his father as sheriff of the Ste. Genevieve district in 1805....

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John W. Geary. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2033).

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Geary, John White (30 December 1819–08 February 1873), soldier and governor of Kansas Territory and Pennsylvania, was born near Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Geary and Margaret White. After failing in the iron industry, Geary’s father opened a school, where he taught for many years. Geary was a student at Jefferson (now Washington and Jefferson) College when his father died. Forced by the family’s debts to drop out of college, he opened a school before finally completing college. He then spent several years clerking and studying engineering and law and was admitted to the bar. Until 1846 he worked as an engineer for Kentucky and Pennsylvania railroads. In 1843 he married Margaret Ann Logan, with whom he had two children. By the time of his maturity, Geary was an impressive figure, towering six feet five and a half inches, weighing 260 pounds, with an iron jaw and penetrating gray eyes. When the United States declared war against Mexico, Geary, who for ten years had been active in the state militia, organized a company known as the American Highlanders. They joined the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, in which he was elected lieutenant colonel....

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Howard, Benjamin (1770?–18 September 1814), soldier and territorial governor, was born in Virginia, the son of John Howard, a farmer and land speculator, and Mary Preston. Howard’s birth is often dated 1760; however, the fact that he was the fourth child of a 1764 marriage along with his letters from college offer convincing evidence that 1760 is at least a decade too early. Howard’s father, by living to be 103 years old, eventually became a celebrated Kentucky figure. His mother belonged to a powerful western Virginia clan. Benjamin Howard had an unsettled and difficult childhood. A disastrous manager and a sometimes violent husband, John Howard in 1779 was judged, in a court controlled by his wife’s connections, to have been “for some time past in a State of Insanity.” Throughout Benjamin’s boyhood and youth, his father spent long periods in Kentucky, where adventure and military bounty lands drew him, while his mother, often calling on her kin for help, struggled in Virginia to fix the family’s tangled affairs so that they could migrate to Kentucky. The fact that Benjamin Howard so often found himself under the care and tutelage of his maternal kin was formative....

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Hull, William (24 June 1753–29 November 1825), army officer and territorial governor, was born in Derby, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Hull and Eliza Clark, farmers. Hull graduated from Yale College in 1772, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1775. At the outbreak of the Revolution, he joined the first company raised in Derby, and he served through the entire war, rising in 1779 to lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts line of the Continental army. Hull fought in most of the important battles of the northern theater—New York, White Plains, Trenton, Saratoga, Monmouth, Stony Point—and he frequently exercised independent command. Late in the war he commanded the army’s advance position in the lines outside New York City, and he won recognition for a daring raid on the British outpost at Morrissania in January 1781. While on leave in 1781, Hull married Sarah Fuller, with whom he had eight children....

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Izard, George (21 October 1776–22 November 1828), army officer and territorial governor of Arkansas, was born in the Richmond district of London, England, the son of Ralph Izard, a planter and diplomat, and Alice DeLancey. His parents were members of influential families in both South Carolina and New York. Izard spent his early years abroad, received his initial education at the Collège de Navarre in Paris, and accompanied his mother back to Charleston in 1783. When his father was elected senator in 1789, the family relocated to New York City. There Izard attended King’s College (now Columbia University) and graduated in 1792 at the age of fifteen. He then accompanied Minister to Great Britain ...

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Andrew Jackson. From an engraving by James Barton Longacre. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117120).

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Jackson, Andrew (15 March 1767–08 June 1845), soldier and seventh president of the United States, was born in the Waxhaw Settlement, South Carolina, the son of Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Hutchinson, farmers. Like many other Scotch-Irish at the time, Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson migrated to this country from the port of Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland in 1765, landing most probably in Philadelphia and then journeying southward to join relatives living in the Waxhaw Settlement along the northwestern boundary separating North and South Carolina. They settled with their two sons, Hugh and Robert, on a stretch of land on the south side of Twelve Mile Creek, a branch of the Catawba River, and for two years tried to scratch a living from this acid soil. Then, early in March 1767, Andrew died suddenly. Approximately two weeks later, on 15 March, Elizabeth gave birth to her third son and named him after her deceased husband. Later a dispute arose over the exact location of the birthplace of the future president—whether he was born in North or South Carolina—but Jackson himself always believed and repeatedly stated that he was born in South Carolina....